To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Sep. 25: FAA To Issue First UAV-Use Permits To Filmmakers
Date: Thu Sep 25 12:14:23 MDT 2014
Policy News - State
FAA To Issue First UAV-Use Permits To Filmmakers.
Bloomberg News (9/25, Levin) reports that the FAA is expected to issue the first permits allowing film companies in the U.S. to fly small UAVs when making movies and TV shows, according to anonymous sources familiar with the deal. Seven companies are expected to get the waivers that will limit operations to closed sets. Michael Toscano, president and chief executive officer of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, stated that this shift shows that the FAA is trying to “catch up” to the technology.
The Washington Post (9/24, Whitlock) reports that the applications submitted by the filmmakers were “the first to receive scrutiny from the FAA,” with more sent in later by companies like Amazon that are still being reviewed.
According to the AP (9/25, Lowy), the FAA will include other restrictions for use when filming, including that UAVs “be operated by a three-person team, including a trained drone operator.” The article notes that there now may be “dozens of industries” that gain similar licenses in the coming months, because of the “intense pressure” being placed on the FAA. However, attorney Brendan Schulman thinks that the FAA’s rules may still be too “onerous” for companies to find using UAVs beneficial.
SpaceShipTwo May Conduct Powered Flight Next Week.
Doug Messier at Parabolic Arc (9/24) writes about “signs of activity” at the Mojave regarding Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. According to “reliable reports,” SpaceShipTwo could make its first powered flight in 10 months next week, making it “the first in-flight test of the new hybrid motor.” Messier also notes that some are “eager” to have another powered flight before the 10th anniversary celebration of the completion of the Ansari X Prize.
Policy News - Federal
Report Finds That NextGen’s Costs Exceeds Its Benefits.
Bloomberg News (9/24, Levin) reports that the Transportation Department’s Inspector General said in a report auditing that the FAA’s NextGen program, which aims to modernize air traffic control, will cost “as much as $588 million” more than the benefits it will bring because “not enough airliners” are utilizing the necessary equipment. Assistant Inspector General Matthew Hampton said that the FAA “has yet to determine what the program will cost, how long it will take to fully implement, or what capabilities and benefits the system will ultimately provide air traffic controllers and pilot.” According to the article, the FAA has agreed to five of six recommendations in the report.
US Air Force Contracting With Firms To Examine Potentially Shrinking Budgets.
Space News (9/24, Gruss, Subscription Publication) reported, “With possible budget cuts on the horizon, the US Air Force has contracted with at least four companies,” including Intelsat General Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Universal Space Network, and Raytheon Intelligence, “to examine how they might pick up the slack should the service elect to shutter one or more of its satellite-operating facilities, according to industry officials.” An industry source said the contracts “are relatively small,” Space News added.
Airlines Still Want Plane Makers To Develop New Narrowbody Models.
The Wall Street Journal (9/24, Wall, Subscription Publication) reports that even though Boeing and Airbus decided to reengine their existing narrowbody models, the respective 737 and A320, airlines still want the companies to develop new versions. The article notes that this comes as Airbus plans to make the first flight of the A320neo today.
Airbus Raises Long-Term Plane Demand Forecast. The AP (9/24) reports that Airbus predicts that over the next 20 years, the worldwide feet will require 31,400 new planes, or seven percent more than its previous estimate. “Demographic and economic trends in Asia” were cited as the reason for this growth. This number is still “slightly lower” than what Boeing predicts.
Panelists To Discuss Future Of Florida’s Aerospace, Aviation Industry.
Florida Today (9/24, Price) reports on the gradual growth of Brevard, Florida’s aviation industry in the past decade. In recent years, Northrop Grumman expanded its Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence and Embraer Executive Aircraft “its Engineering & Technology Center across the runways from Northrop Grumman.” Area lawmakers are now examining how to build upon its gains. A forum titled “Building on Magellan — Exploring Possibilities,” sponsored by Florida Today, Florida Tech, and the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, will be held Monday at the Florida Institute of Technology’s Gleason Performing Arts Center. The panel at the event will discuss “issues ranging from work force training, market forces and what’s needed to make Brevard a preeminent aerospace center.”
JTSB Finds No Root Cause For Dreamliner Battery Overheating.
Reuters (9/25) reports that the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) issued its final report on the incident where a ANA Holdings Dreamliner lithium-ion battery overheated, resulting in all Dreamliners being grounded for months. The JTSB did not determine a root cause for the event, but notes that engineers did not appropriately test the battery during development. This lack of testing may have led to the incident.
Former President Clinton Chats With ISS Astronauts During Foundation Event.
The ABC News (9/24, Kreutz) “The Note” blogs reports that as part of the closing session of the Clinton Foundation’s annual event, former President Bill Clinton and astronaut Cady Coleman video-conferenced with ISS astronaut Reid Wiseman and another astronaut that was not named in the piece. According to the article, Wiseman discussed the international collaborations at the ISS, while Clinton also “continually stressed” the need for international partnerships in space missions. Hillary Clinton later joined the conversation, saying the talk was “very exciting.”
Wilmore Heading To ISS Today.
The WCYB-TV Bristol, VA (9/24, Cox) website reports that today, astronaut Barry Wilmore will launch with two others to the ISS and eventually take command of the station. The article focused on Wilmore’s “love for football” in high school and at Tennessee Tech University, where he eventually entered the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame. When describing seeing Tennessee from space, Wilmore said, “It is the most beautiful place on Earth.”
Sierra Nevada Lets 90 Go From Dream Chaser Program.
The Denver Post (9/24, Keeney) reports that after losing NASA’s commercial crew award to Boeing and SpaceX, Sierra Nevada’s Space Systems division laid off 90 employees from the Dream Chaser program on Wednesday. Space Systems chief Mark Sirangelo said that this number represented less than 10% of the division’s total number, with some people hired with the NASA contract in mind.
LISC Award Delayed Again Until October.
Space News (9/24, Gruss, Subscription Publication) reports that the US Air Force is not expected to the “long-delayed” Launch and Test Range System Integrated Support Contract (LISC) until next month, according to Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center spokesperson Alicia Garges. This new delay was reportedly due “to the need for more time to complete source selection.”
Boeing Opening New Research Center In North Charleston, South Carolina.
The AP (9/24) reports Boeing has leased a facility in North Charleston, South Carolina for a new research center. The Research and Technology Center-South Carolina will open later this year and will employ up to 400 people. It will “focus on advanced manufacturing technology and technology to make fuselages of composite materials.” The facility is located near another plant that creates the cabin parts for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
Nebraska Governor To Participate In National Manufacturing Day Event.
The Columbus (NE) Telegram (9/25) reports that Columbus, Nebraska, will be hosting Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman during the second observance of National Manufacturing day. The event is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturing Institute and is designed to promote the importance of manufacturing to the US economy. Manufacturers will be meeting with the governor during a luncheon and will be sharing with him the challenges they face.
Study: Black Women Less Likely To Get STEM Degrees Despite High Interest.
The Houston Chronicle (9/25) reports that according to a new study from the American Psychological Association, “black women tend to be more interested in pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math than white women peers, but they are still less likely to actually earn degrees in those fields.” The article notes that the study comes amid a national push, including efforts by the Obama Administration, “to get more students interested in” STEM fields--particularly minority students--to improve US economic competitiveness. The Chronicle reports that the study’s findings suggest that “the answer to closing the STEM gap might not lie in boosting students’ interest, but rather in breaking down the barriers to those students’ success.”
Wednesday's Lead Stories
• Branson Says There Have Been Few Complaints About Virgin Galactic Delay.
• Letter From Lawmakers Warns Department Heads About In-Flight Cell Phone Use.
• F-22 Conducts Its First Combat Operation.
• Dragon Spacecraft Delivers New Supplies To ISS Crew.
• Manufacturers Say Infrastructure Spending Essential To Boosting US Economy.